Apart from pubs, the Britain I had in my head prior to our #eurotrip involved proper tea.
If my blog is a testament to my beverage preferences, anyone can tell I love having a good cup of tea. There’s just something fascinating about the ritual of infusing tea leaves, inhaling a diversity of smells, having a number of ways to serve tea (one lump or two, with milk or lemon?), and personally, pretty teacups (see here for high tea and girly teacups).
With this in mind, Chad and I made it a point to find a good pack of loose-leaf tea (purist!) in London.
One evening, as we made our way from Westminster Abbey (we managed to catch Evensong in a Monday night service to honor Edward the Confessor… Heavenly) to have dinner, we came across a teashop named Whittard
The lady behind the counter was brewing something and looked very thoughtful as Chad and I looked around. After spotting us, she asked, “Would you like to try some? A new batch of these arrived today, and I wanted to taste it… I’d love to know what you think.”
It was divine, like the champagne of tea… A first flush Darjeeling. First flush guarantees a gentle tea, with mild aromas and acidity, and is very lightly colored. So far, I’ve only encountered this term in Darjeeling teas, which makes me think that only Darjeeling can have this classification (I am allowed to be wrong, I promise). Darjeeling is a region in India, and the thing I’ve noticed about Indian tea is that they have a tendency to be richly flavored (a personal preference).
With this in mind, I was momentarily brought up to tea heaven. Unfortunately, given our “tea budget” for that trip, it was quite over our limit (well worth it though, I promise), so we promised ourselves that we would get one in our next London tour.
As we looked around the store, we were pleasantly surprised to find affordable versions of white tea (I cannot find reasonably priced, decent white tea in Manila). I had to take home a bag of a fragrant White Peony. As the package indicates, it is “An exquisitely delicate white tea crafter from silver buds and the youngest spring leaves”. Sold.
Indeed, tea was everywhere in London… In fact, coming out of the Tower of London, we even managed to get an adorable souvenir: Three miniature tins of loose-leaf teas, shaped in typical things people see in London, with the usual teas: English Afternoon Tea, English Breakfast Tea (which, IMHO, needed milk), and an intriguing “London Tea” blend (which smells malty and citrusy).
The only disappointment I had from this tea adventure is the lack of time for proper high tea, but there’s always next time.
What’s your favorite thing about the British tea experience (and no, Paulette, seeing #TomHiddleston/#BenedictCumberbatch/#DavidTennant having a cuppa doesn’t count)?
Speaking of Paulette, I’ll be writing about #fangirling in the next entry. Cheers!